Chef Michael Beckman’s Workshop Kitchen & Bar has been a hit in Palm Springs since it opened a decade ago. Now he’s bringing a French-inspired restaurant outpost to his hometown of Los Angeles.
The new spot, which opened on Friday in the Fairfax neighborhood of Los Angeles, offers two different tasting menus, with a number of additional dishes and dishes “for the table”. The first five-course tasting option ($90) offers fish and beef dishes such as halibut with bouillabaisse sauce, morels, marinated Fresno and tom kha mousse, as well as ground beef with artichokes, red butter and herb salad. The second ($75) is an all-vegetable offering, with plates such as compressed melon with rhubarb tea, blood orange, fennel oil and radish, as well as red beans with coulis roasted red peppers, black garlic aioli, okra, confit tomato and nasturtium flowers. Much of the produce is sourced locally, from the Santa Monica or Hollywood Farmer’s Market, or even from Beckman’s own garden.
In terms of additions to prix fixe menus, you can get wood-fired babaganoush or fried chicken oyster mushrooms for the table. A wood-fired oven-baked truffle pizza will set you back $50 more, but it might be worth it, thanks to the toppings of sungold tomato coulis, shallot marmalade and Australian winter truffle. For dessert, you can opt for the traveling cheese cart, with a selection of local cheeses, homemade bread and vintage dessert wines.
To go with all that food, sommelier Vincent Samarco curated two optional wine pairings: the $65 version is made with all local California wines, while the $85 version is made with aged and vintage varietals. There’s also a 240-bottle wine list, if you’d rather choose your own poison. And if you’re more into cocktails, head bartender Jessi Lorraine has come up with creative drink options, like the Kitchen Sink Martini (gin, white and dry vermouths, orange bitters, lemon oil and seasonal pickles) and the Queen of Hearts (tequila blanco, blood orange vermouth, Chareau, salted watermelon cordial and sparkling chenin blanc).
The food and drink itself is beautifully plated and poured, and that artistry extends to Workshop’s design. In fact, the decor and layout can be one of the most amazing parts of the restaurant. The 20-foot high ceilings have allowed the traditional booths to be replaced with large concrete “cocoons,” as the restaurant calls them. The open kitchen can be viewed from an interactive dining counter, and a large community table sits on the upstairs mezzanine (with some of the best views in the house).
It’s definitely a bold look to complement Beckman’s bold flavors.
Workshop Kitchen & Bar is now open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
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